My current manuscript is quite long, over 300k words, and, as such, is far too long for the market accustomed to novels that are more like 110k at the outside. However, the good news is, that the manuscript is structured in such a way that I believe it would work well as a serialized novel. Each part would be around 38k words and I’d price them accordingly.
As I get closer to a completed product, I’m looking for some input and advice about serialization. Does anyone have experience with publishing a serial? And if so, could you offer any advice about what to do, what not to do, or pass on ideas for marketing, etc? Any input at all would be lovely and helpful!
In addition, I’m wondering if I’m overlooking an obvious way to sell subscriptions to the serial, so that someone can pay a set amount up front and receive each episode as it is put out, rather than having to count entirely on return traffic as each episode is released. I saw that Amazon has as service called Amazon Serials, but it requires pitching your idea to them, being accepted, etc, and I’m not sure I care to go that route. I’d rather do it on my own or find another service, unless someone knows something about Amazon Serials that I don’t. Surely there must be some obvious way to provide a subscription service for myself. Hopefully.
Again, any information or experience that might be shared would be wonderful. Thank you!
6 thoughts on “Experience Marketing Serials? Help Needed, Por Favor! #writing #publishing #help”
300,000 words?!!!! (commence jumping up and down)
I read a serial novel by HM Ward called The Arrangement; she is on #12 or 13 I think, and each one is priced at $2.99. I know she gets a lot of flack from readers about the price since there’s 12 books so far, and so at $2.99 apiece, that adds up – but then when she does a visual comparison of the size of a book, versus the size of all her books in the Arrangement series, all stacked up, her series is way larger. Anyway – not that that has anything to do with anything but I just thought i’d share what I know about serials. I quite enjoy it actually; something new to look forward to from a beloved series, about once a month or every -other-month or so. 🙂 Can’t wait, Leta!! I’ll be all over anything that you write.
Aw, thank you, Beth!! Your enthusiasm is so heartening! 🙂 I’ve despaired over this manuscript for so many years because I’ve been told by so many that it’s “too long”, and “publishers won’t take it because of length”, etc, etc, so I’m excited to finally be able to self-publish this baby this year and put it out in a way that hopefully readers will enjoy. 🙂
Sure wish you’d just break it into three novels without cliffhangers. I do not like serials – just my two cents. Some people like them, some don’t. At any rate, please let people know in the blurb that it’s a serial. There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve bought a complete story and have it stop in midstream.
Sadly, there is no way to break it into three novels. There’s no natural break in the story for it to be divided into three. There is a natural break for it to be two really long tied-together novels of like 150k each, where the first novel doesn’t really have a complete story arc and it just suddenly stops. Or I can do eight sections of novella length, as I discussed above. No matter what, when all is said and done, there will be the possibility of buying the whole thing all at once if that’s the reader’s preferred way of reading it.
And, yes, I will title it so that it’s clear that it’s a serial, should I go that route, AND I will mention it at the beginning and end of the blurb, and in every scrap of marketing I do for it.
“There’s nothing worse than thinking you’ve bought a complete story and have it stop in midstream.” <–That is exactly why I can't divide it into three novels. You'd be reading along and then, boom, that book's over without any resolution to anything at all, which would make no sense and surely piss people off! 🙂 At least with a serial, the breaks would take place with the changes of seasons as one progresses through the year, so there is a sense of completing one thing and moving on to another with each section.
Training Season got a ton of feedback that it 'ran long' and 'dragged' and people had trouble with it at 111k, so I figure there is no way this genre will accept a 300k manuscript. My only option is try to figure out how to make it palatable to a genre that seems to prefer their books at 75k to 100k tops, you know?
When it comes to this manuscript, I feel between a rock and a hard place. If I put it out as one book, it will be too long and people will dislike that. If I cut it into two books, it will just suddenly stop at the end of one and people will have to wait for the next, and that will make some folks angry. There's simply no way to divide it into three novels…especially without any "cliffhangers" or abrupt endings. And if I do a serial, then some folks are gonna hate that.
Basically, I just want to make the manuscript palatable to the reading community and I'm trying to figure out the best way to do that. I think with a serial, marketed as a serial, at least people will have the expectation of sudden stops and starts, and they won't be upset that it is too long. That's my thought at the moment anyway. 🙂
Sorry to be late to the conversation (#amwriting) … but I suffered through this issue with Accidental Heretics. I’d conceived of a whole story. It refused to break itself into “real” books with a satisfying resolution for only portions of the story. However – especially if you’re self-publishing – neither you nor your readers can afford a POD book larger than about 130K. Even if the story doesn’t have complete resolution at 60K or 90K points, it has Acts (3? 5?) where the story shifts gears. Break the story at those points. Publish them quickly in order, so the earnest reader can acquire and finish al 330K if desired (and knows that the series won’t trail off without resolution). Label the descriptions clearly for “order to be read” and where the reader will find a satisfactory conclusion. Do bundles — all ## stories for 9.99, etc. (And remember the Rifter series … you weren’t happy till you read all of them, but you didn’t need them in a single ‘binding’)
Hi, Annie! Thanks for commenting here. 🙂 I think you’re right on. After re-looking at the manuscript and realizing that I was stuck in a mode of imagining it structured the way I had planned it when I began ten years ago, and, well, it doesn’t have to be structured that way at all.
I suspect I’m going to end up with 4 books with between 100k and 80k per part. I think that will be much more easily stomached than a serial. The books’ endings will fall at the natural breaks you point out, and I think that will work for the best.
Thank you for your experienced input! *high five* 🙂